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Photo of Josué Dioné

Josué Dioné

Special Advisor to the AU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development


What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Josué Dioné played a key role, even as a young professional, in shaping food security policies in Mali.  Working for Michigan State University after his MSc studies in Canada, he became a key architect responsible for building the empirical foundation that has formed the cornerstone of Mali’s food security institutions and policies. His highly recognized work in Mali attracted the attention of the African Development Bank where he provided continental leadership in agricultural financing and development.  He is likewise remembered for the excellent leadership he provided in the Directorate of Food Security within the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa—a position he held for almost 12 years.

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • My interest in agriculture arose naturally from my childhood—I was born and raised in a farming environment.
  • The school curriculum and extra-curriculum activities were all round—they embraced education, social and religious values.  This mix of technical education with social values forged my behavior from the very beginning.
  • Even after going to upper secondary school, I would return home for every vacation and spend the time in agriculture—and so I knew all about agriculture.  I had developed a close personal interest in agriculture and land that has remained with me ever since.  

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Combine theory and practice—hands on training is the key in making agricultural graduates practically oriented when they leave college.
  • In delivery of courses and curricula review, insist on the big picture—agriculture should not be studied in isolation from other disciplines. In fact the problems agriculture is facing are caused by factors outside agriculture and so there is need to understand those factors that surround agriculture. 
  • Private sector agribusinesses are the engine of growth for AET institutions.  Existing synergies need to be made use of  and more need to be established.

Career highlights

  • Special Advisor to the AU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, 2013 onwards.
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)—Director for Food Security and Sustainability Division, 2001-2012.
  • African Development Bank, Principal Policy Economist—in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development, 1997-2001.
  • Michigan State University, Visiting Associate Professor and West Africa Regional Coordinator, 1989-1997.
  • Michigan State University, Mali Country Director, 1987-89.

Educational background

  • Primary school:                     
    • Protestant Primary School of Somaso.
  • Secondary school:                 
    • Lycée de Badalabougou.
  • University:     
    • BSc  Lavale University Quebec.
    • MSc Lavale University Quebec.
    • PhD Michigan State University.